Pedal de Alps Charity Cycle Final Day

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On Friday 16th August, a group of five riders, including Multi-World Trial Champion, Dougie Lampkin, set off on a 1000 mile cycle from Chorley, Lancashire in the UK to Nice in the south of France via the notorious Alps. Their objective - to raise as much money as possible for Derian House, a childrens hospice in the UK that relies on public funding for the vast majority of the great work they do.


We'll post daily updates from the team here as they pedal their way southwards and you can find out more about the event, the route, the team and the charity by clicking here. Most importantly, you can donate to this very worthy cause quickly, easily and safely via the team's JustGiving page.







pda 13Bang on schedule the Pedal de Alps team arrived on the Promenade de Anglais earlier today, to successfully complete their 13 day adventure from Chorley to Nice having amassed over £20K in donations for Derian House along the way. A total that is sure to continue to rise over the coming days.

Paul Dixon, Dougie Lampkin, James Lampkin, Woody Hole and Jake Miller were joined by three guest riders on their final day as they made the relatively short journey from Utelle to Nice over the last remaining set of mountains that overnight had separated them from the Mediterranean Sea.

A large welcoming party of friends and relatives awaited the team on the sea front as they rode the closing few metres in formation and were met my rapturous applause and cheers in recognition of their huge achievement.

The guys gathered for one last photo call in front of the sea to record this special moment, and to sign off on what has truly been a trip of a lifetime.

Special thanks goes to Hope for their immense support, to Sir Nick Snailsford for skilfully coaching the team to glory, to JD Cycles and Biketreks for their help, to Red Bull and P+O Ferries for their contribution, to the respective families for their patience and understanding, to all friends, acquaintances and all those who have donated to this incredibly worthy cause.

With the hard work done the team has already began to resume normal life, Woody is already in the sky heading to a bike show in Germany, Nick and James are on route over land to collect the now repaired support vehicle, whilst Dougie, Paul and Jake are currently on the beach in Nice with friends and family enjoying a few beers before they head off to the World Trial in Isola this coming weekend.

Over the last 13 days the team has completed 1009 miles and 35,546 metres of climbing – not bad for five amateur cyclists who have never pedaled outside of UK until they set sail just under 2 weeks ago.

In the end, the Pedal de Alps story was a simple one - five guys – one thousand miles – one cause.

For all those reading this update, please don't forget to donate or to share this with others.

Donations can be made quickly, easily and safely by clicking the big green button to the right or by sending cheques payable to Derian House to Pedal de Alps HQ, 3 The Old Court House, Tenterden Street, Bury, UK - BL9 0AL


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pda 12The town of Isola is another that can be missed if you are looking for decent accommodation and any sign of life once the sun goes down. The team hotel would not have looked out of place in a 1950’s seaside resort and was probably last renovated around the same era. With the only restaurant in the town shut on a Monday night, the team were faced with a lengthy walk to find food due to team technician, Nick and cameraman, Sam having headed to Nice in search of a replacement support vehicle.
Anyway despite the dated surroundings the team emerged from the slightly faded hotel this morning in a positive mood knowing that only 2 days lay between them and their final destination in Nice. With the temporary support vehicle packed to the roof the guys limbered up in the town square ready for their set off. Paul’s attempt’s to match James’ ‘Danny MacAskill like skills’ ended with the Cumbrian team leader laid upside down and with his bike on top of him much to the amusement of his team-mates and the curious onlookers.
With Paul back the right way up the guys headed out onto the road and down the valley in the direction of Nice. The first part of today’s route was a welcome relief and featured a gentle descent for several miles in the shade of the steep sided valley. Before turning off the main road the team enjoyed a short morning coffee stop in readiness for the meandering climb that lay ahead of them.
The 11 mile ascent to the town of Utelle began with some shallow climbing around a series of hairpin turns before a short descent was then followed by the hefty section of the steepest tarmac the team has faced to date. Despite this tough ask the team remain in good spirits, with plenty of chat about the days and routes that had gone before them over the previous eleven days.
The natural veranda around the outskirts of the village of Utelle provided the ideal setting for lunch and offered a great view of the final mountain range that now separates the team from Nice, where they are due to arrive tomorrow afternoon. With just one final push to the finish, now would seem the perfect moment to reflect on just how far the guys have come over 12 days and how far they have climbed in the process.
Day 1 - Friday 16th August

Chorley (UK) to Hull (UK)
Distance: 124 miles / Elevation gain: 1390 metres

Day 2 - Saturday 17th August
Zeebrugge (Belgium) to Bavay (France)

Distance: 87 miles / Elevation gain: 989 metres 

Day 3 - Sunday 18th August

Bavay (France) to Chalons-sur-Marne (France) 

Distance: 118 miles / Elevation gain: 1722 metres

Day 4 - Monday 19th August

Chalons-sur-Marne (France) to Champlitte (France)

Distance: 134 miles / Elevation gain: 2167 metres

Day 5 - Tuesday 20th August

Champlitte (France) to Morez (France) 

Distance: 99 miles / Elevation gain: 2730 metres

Day 6 - Wednesday 21st August

Morez (France) via Geneva (Switzerland) to Morzine (France)

Distance: 77 miles / Elevation gain: 2964 metres

Day 7 - Thursday 22nd August

Morzine (France) to Notre Dame de Bellecombe (France)

Distance: 58 miles / Elevation gain: 4014 metres

Day 8 - Friday 23rd August

Notre Dame de Bellecombe (France) to Val d'Isere (France)

Distance: 60 miles / Elevation gain: 4622 metres

Day 9 - Saturday 24th August

Val d'Isere (France) to Valloire (France)

Distance: 67 miles / Elevation gain: 3209 metres

Day 10 - Sunday 25th August

Valloire (France) to Vars (France) 

Distance: 63 miles / Elevation gain: 3147 metres

Day 11 - Monday 26th August

Vars (France) to Isola (France) 

Distance: 55 miles / Elevation gain: 3125 metres

Day 12 - Tuesday 27th August

Isola (France) to Utelle (France) 

Distance: 33 miles / Elevation gain: 2839 metres
Total to date 975 miles – 32,918 metres
The total monies raised are now within £70 of reaching the overall target of £20K as the guys look to get back in the saddle for one final time tomorrow.
For all those reading this update, please don't forget to donate or to share this with others.






pda 11The overnight stay in the town of Vars proved to be a social affair with Sam Needham joining the team for dinner having flown into Nice earlier in the day and driven up into the mountains to meet up with the guys. Sam will be responsible for capturing both still and moving images over the last three days of the trip which will serve as a permanent reminder of this epic adventure and will be used by the various media outlets for the resulting post event features that will follow.

As for the day itself, the team rolled out for their eleventh day in the saddle and were once again greeted by an immediate climb, but this time the ascent was only a relatively short one as they soon found themselves at the top of the Col de Vars at the height of 2109 metres. Although the sun was shining, there was still a distinct chill in the air as the five strong squad descended knowing that they would face the biggest climb of the trip next.

The Route de la Bonette is the highest paved road in France at 2802 metres, and was always going to be a tough challenge after so many testing days in the saddle for the guys. The 15 mile winding route to the top featured a great variety of gradients, with the steepest section coming at just after the halfway point. The team showed great unity as they stayed close throughout the 2 hour ascent to ensure that all members reached the summit safely.

The final steep climb to the absolute summit will be remembered as one of the defining moments of the tour and was marked by an appropriate slogan on the road. The descent from this landmark point proved to be popular amongst the team as they enjoyed the never ending sequence of fast and flowing corners that would eventually lead them to lower land.

After a roadside lunch break, the guys’ last few miles to the town of Isola was covered at speed as the light rain that had just started threatened to turn far heavier. Damp, but not totally sodden the team arrived in good shape for the final 2 days.

The total monies raised now are just over £19.5K with 2 days of the trip remaining, making the overall target of £20K a real possibility. 








pda 10After the drama of yesterday, morale certainly dipped in the camp last night for the first time since the team departed from the UK 10 days ago. However a good night’s sleep and blue skies this morning certainly helped to lift the guys spirits as they welcomed team technician Nick Owen – aka Sir Nick Snailsford as he has been christened by the guys - to ride alongside them today, with the official support vehicle still in dry dock and waiting to be repaired.

The start to the day was anything but easy as the team was immediately faced by the fearsome Col du Galibier climb straight out of the town of Valoire. The 11 mile route to the summit snaked its way up and across the steep sided valley that was without vegetation towards the top such was the height of the climb.

Peaking at 2642 metres the guys were relieved to see the top, but were soon aware of just how cold it was once they stopped pedaling. With the temperature down to 6 degrees Celsius, the team added several layers of clothing before they began yet another long and fast descent.

On the way down to the bottom of the valley the team were joined by yet another guest rider this time in the form of Guillaume Leon – who is Hope’s French designer and lives in the town of Briancon through which they passed through on today’s route. With Sir Nick Snailsford calling the shots today, an early lunch was taken at a local McDonalds much to Guillaume’s disbelief.

Guillaume used his local knowledge to take the team on a back road away from the busy main road as they headed to the final climb of the day. A strong headwind saw the guys back in time trial formation as they bashed out some fast flat miles before finally turning off the national route and head up the hill to Vars.

The 10 mile ascent to tonight’s hotel proved to be a tough ask for all and made Sir Nick Snailsford appreciate just what the team has been going through over the last 10 days. As a result of which, he has now promised to be kinder to the guys over the final 3 days.

Tomorrow marks day 11 of the tour, when the team will continue their hilly journey south and head to their next stop over destination in the town of Isola.




pda 9After the relative calm of the opening 8 days, today proved to be first day of drama and was soon to eradicate the memories of a relaxing night spent in the team’s beautiful hotel in Val D’Isere. The day started perfectly well with ...the guys soon back in their stride as they immediately found themselves climbing the Col del L’Iseran straight out of the hotel car park. The team crested the summit after just over one hour and twenty minutes later having risen to the heady heights of 2770 metres.


The descent from this great viewpoint was simply incredible and very long as the picture postcard road wove its way through the valley that lay below. With sun overhead the team was in great spirits as they hit the 20 mile point and met up with team technician Nick to offload some of their over clothing they had put on to counteract the chill of the morning air and speed of the descent.


It was at this point that the day started to go wrong, when the support vehicle ground to a noisy halt with a suspected broken drive shaft. After some deliberation the guys set off and left Nick and van waiting to be rescued. Not long after this setback, the team found themselves fighting against a horrendous headwind and driving rain, which was soon to turn into a heavy storm complete with thunder and lightning.


Undeterred the guys battled through the next 35 miles in torrential rain knowing that one of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France awaited them as the finale to an already testing day. Soaked to the skin and with the rain coming down heavy the team worked together as a solid unit to make it to the summit of the Col du Telegraphe at 1566 metres. The short downhill finish to the town of Valoire saw the guys frozen to the bone and desperate for a warm shower to revive their battered bodies.


Tomorrow will offer the team no respite with the fearsome climb of Col du Galibier set to start their tenth day in the saddle, with them having now covered over 800 grueling miles since they departed from Chorley a week last Friday.


The overall total raised sits very close to £19K with 4 days of the trip remaining. £20K remains the overall target.



pda 8Notre-Dame de Bellecombe proved to a pleasant overnight stop with the small skiing village offering a good eatery for the team and moderate accommodation. Its location meant that the guys faced an immediate climb as they rolled out from the hotel this morning, with the first 7 miles being all-uphill quite literally. Once again what goes up must come down and it did at a good speed as the team made the most of the following descent that took them just past the 15 mile mark and into the beautiful town of Beaufort.

Here the five squad members enjoyed a morning brew and a selection of local pastries in the sunshine as they prepared both their minds and bodies for the 12 mile climb that lay ahead of them. In rising temperatures the team made consistent progress to the top of the Cormet de Roselend that topped just shy of 2000 metres. The views on this climb were simply stunning with the guys taking time out to enjoy the sight of the clear blue lake that dominated the landscape near to the summit.

As is becoming the format, lunch was taken at the top of the mountain, before the guys were soon back in the saddle to sample yet another fast and swooping descent that saw the team slip past the 40 mile mark at some speed. The next major landmark was the town of Bourg Saint Maurice, which was a familiar stop for most of the team with the FIM Trial World Championship having visited this location previously.

From the valley floor the Pedal de Alps team faced their thi
rd and final ascent of the day, the 15 mile ride up to the famous ski resort of Val D’Isere proved to be a real slog in temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius. The pain was punctuated by Seth Smith who is one of James’ training buddies, who made the shortest appearance as a guest rider so far, at around 30 minutes, although his local knowledge was much appreciated.

After an eighth consecutive day in the saddle and having now covered over 750 miles the team were pleased to see tonight’s hotel where they will rest before they face yet another tough day of climbing tomorrow.




pda 7The official mid point in the long trip south has arrived and in brilliant sunshine too. It felt strange to be leaving Morzine so soon, but we are glad to report that the team was a lot better behaved allegedly than when it visited the resort earlier in the year on its annual ski trip. The view from the Sporting Hotel breakfast room window this morning confirmed that the team are most definitely now in hilly country.

With spirits still good within the camp, the guys rolled out at just after nine o’clock having done their now daily photo call and started with a short and soft climb into the neighbouring ski resort of Les Gets. Here they were met by national cyclo-cross champion and pedaling legend Paul Oldham who was to join them for the rest of the day. It was great to have Hope’s Pro Team rider on board today as he has been a big supporter and inspiration to the team throughout the months of winter training.

After the initial descent from Les Gets, which was enjoyed by all, the hard work began proper as the guys faced the fearsome Col de la Colombiere, which has featured many times in the Tour de France over the years. The team coped remarkably well as they climbed the 1618 metres to the summit. Woody once again showed his climbing pedigree and shared the pace setting with Dougie, whilst Paul rode alongside James and Jake to make sure that all five team members made it to the top of the first major col safely.

Lunch at the top was a welcomed reward for the team’s efforts and was followed by another incredible scenic and flowing alpine descent before the guys were soon facing uphill once again. The second major climb of the day measured in at 1480 metres and proved an easier test for the team as they crested the Col des Aravis in good shape. The run home included another descent before a nasty sting in the tail to take the team to tonight’s hotel in the small village of Notre-Dame-Bellecombe.

Tomorrow’s route features some more epic climbs as the guys enter the second week of their incredible challenge.

For all those reading this update, please remember this is all for charity so please donate, no matter how little and share this with others.

Donations can be made by visiting clicking the big green button to the right or by sending cheques made payable to Derian House to Pedal de Alps HQ, 3 The Old Court House, Tenterden Street, Bury, UK - BL9 0AL




pda 6As part of our on going French tourist information service, Morez is a town that you need not visit. Although pleasant enough, it was definitely a one horse, five bike stop over place with little to offer in terms of eating houses and hotels. The La Poste Hotel cannot be recommended, nor can the restaurant just down the road unless you like musty rooms and tough steak.

With Andy Stephenson of Biketreks' fame in toe, the team braved the cold morning air as they departed from Morez at 8.30am sharp after running repairs had been made to Paul’s bike once again. That guy knows how to be rough on his tackle that is for sure, but then again he is a builder.

The opening 15 mile climb was a good test for the team as they continue to familiarise themselves with the new alpine landscape that will be home to them for the next seven days. The guys were rewarded with an amazing view down over Geneva when they finally reached the summit and with a twisty and fast 20 mile descent to the lake.

The sight of lake Geneva with its towering fountain marked yet another landmark on the trip, with the team still trying to comprehend just how far they have pedaled over the last 6 days. A coffee break on the shore of the lake set the guys up for the next 20 mile stint that took them to the official starting point of the ‘Route des Grandes Alpes’.

From here the team then climbed the final 17 miles up to Morzine where they will be staying overnight. Team technician Nick Owen managed to race ahead of the guys in the support vehicle towards the end of the day so that he could then cycle the last few miles into the town where a gathering of family members were waiting in the main street to welcome the five strong squad and its two guest riders.

The slightly earlier than usual finish means that the team are now each getting a long overdue massage before a heavy day of climbing tomorrow.

Morzine is well known to some of the team, with them having frequented the French ski resort during winter months on many occasions over the years, so a better evening of food and hospitality is expected tonight.





pda 52After the long and flat roads of Belgium and northern France, today saw a shift in landscape for the better as the team headed further south and closer to the French Alps. From Champlitte to Morez the team covered another 99 miles and encountered their first climbs of many. The soft gradients proved to be a good initial test as the team worked together to find their natural climbing pace.

A Dutch touring cyclist complete with panniers saw the guys inject some extra speed into one of the morning climbs as they out sprinted the retiree to the first food stop of the day at just under 30 miles in.

Glorious sunshine was evident throughout the day as the team got their first real glimpses of alpine terrain with a steady climb up through the shade of the towering trees taking them to the lunch stop a touch shy of 60 miles.

With their nutritional needs fulfilled Paul, Dougie, James, Woody and Jake were eager to be back in the saddle to pedal out the remaining miles and to get a feel for some proper elevation after 4 relatively flat days thus far.

The team freewheeled into the town of Morez after the final climb of the day to meet Andy Stephenson from Biketreks - Ambleside who will guest ride with them over the next few days and who is well versed with pedalling in the Alps.

Overall the team is in good shape, however is only too aware of the huge challenge that remains ahead despite having completed over 500 miles to date.

Sore backsides are the only real issue thus far and are a topic of conversation with Jim leading the way in the cream usage to date.

Tomorrow will see the guys head into Switzerland and along the shore of lake Geneva before heading over the hill to the French ski resort of Morzine.





pda 4If the team was honest they were far from looking forward to today's monster 131 mile hike that ended up actually being 133 miles due to a couple of small detours, after the previous 2 days of constant head wind.

However with the rain having cleared, the morning came with clearer skies and with a much brighter outlook. The team showed no signs of fatigue as they rolled out and soon clocked up the first 30 or so miles with not even a moan from Dougie. There were rumours that he had even managed a smile, but that is yet to be confirmed.

With better scenery, smoother roads, but the same old jokes the team looked comfortable as they made it to the half way point in good shape to enjoy lunch in the shade of the trees covering the local village green.

With the wind blowing in the right direction for the first time since the team arrived on foreign soil on Saturday morning, the guys continued to clock up the miles and notched up the 100 mark as they climbed the hill to the historic town of Langres.

With no dramas throughout day four the team cruised the last thirty or so miles to tonight's base camp where bike maintenance is currently underway.

There is definitely a positive mood in the team as day 5 approaches, but they might change as the team now head to the hills.




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With team technician Nick having managed to create his favourite dish of pizza and chips by bringing frites from the nearby shop to the restaurant with him last night Sunday was always going to be a good day!

Well that was the plan, but the light rain that started the day soon became heavy and added to the head wind that was once again the theme of the day.

Straight, never ending rolling roads are fast becoming the team's least favourite type of route, but they will be reminded of that when they hit the hills later in the trip.

If you are ever thinking of visiting France - avoid the route the team has followed for the last two days unless you like uninteresting countryside!

Woody won the day with two punctures, but the good news is his special green hubs are ok!

Despite the weather and the mind numbing miles - almost 350 in 3 days - morale in the team remains good with not a minute going by without a friendly knuckle tap and plenty of fierce banter.

Apologies for the lateness of tonights update but Nick took the team on a tour of the local area when looking for the hotel. He will be punished and will have to go without pizza for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is the longest single day at over 130 miles.




pda 2The ferry trip passed without incident, with the average age of traveller being 60+, so it was a quiet night for all, with the team having filled their hungry faces in the all you can eat buffet on board.

Morning dawned a bit quicker than expected with the team's iphones having not switched to European time overnight. After a speedy breakfast to top up last nights feast, the team were soon on the dock side and ready to head off towards the beautiful Belgian town of Brugge.

As expected the route was flat and pretty monotonous so the team were happy to hit Tielt for lunch, which consisted of a croque monsieur to get in the foreign mood. With 30 miles under their belt the five strong squad were soon back pedaling and heading towards the French border.

More flat and uninteresting roads were interrupted by the odd climb in the afternoon before the team made their second stop of the day at 70 miles in.

The day's mileage was completed with all riders in good shape and ready for some mild rehydration before tomorrow's 118 mile route.




pda 1Despite the heavy overnight rain the skies cleared ready for the early morning departure of the team from Derian House, Chorley where friends and families had gathered to wave the five strong squad away.

The ranks were swelled with a number of guest riders who also made the 125 mile trip across to Hull. Dougie and James led the team into their home town of Silsden, 40 miles in, where more well wishes were out on the streets.

Sausage and bacon butties at Doug's parents house helped the squad over the hill to Ilkley where a flying visit was paid to JD Cycles, as proprietor Adam Evan joined the growing peleton.

Further stops for ice creams and the odd puncture broke up an incredible opening day which was summed up brilliantly when guest rider Steve Peat handed over another £100 donation as the team clocked up 100 miles.

With the support van crammed to the roof, the team are now ready to board the ferry to Belgium for tomorrow's adventure.

Special thanks to those that turned out to today and especially to Steve Peat, James Dabill, Dan Hemingway, Adam Evans and Paul Oldham who helped pull the team through day one.